Early Learning Newsletter | February 2022 | Loving Our Youngest Learners

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The U.S. Department of Education's Early Learning Newsletter
 

Loving Our Youngest Learners

February 2022

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In This Issue:


From the Directors

Valerie Williams and Jamila Smith

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

Black History Month is a time to acknowledge the contributions Black Americans have made to our society and celebrate the diverse culture and traditions found in Black communities. We want to honor those in our early childhood classrooms who are focused on supporting equity, inclusion, and diversity. Early childhood education plays an important role in supporting equity for all families. Your hard work and dedication to the field are essential, and appreciated.

We also want to celebrate Black Americans who have been pioneers in early education. Edmund W. Gordon, an expert in child development, worked in the federal government as the chief of the Head Start Research Office during the establishment of the program. Throughout his illustrious career in research and academia, he focused on academic opportunity and improving academic achievement for children from racial and ethnically diverse backgrounds. At the age of 100, Mr. Gordon continues to contribute to the field.

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) has released new and updated resources to support our youngest learners, their families and providers, which you will find in this month’s edition. Tooth decay is a common childhood disease that is preventable. Children with dental pain may have difficulty speaking clearly, eating, and learning. In recognition of National Children’s Dental Health Month, we have also included resources for children and families to support oral health.

For our Voices From the Field interview, we interviewed Katrina Holt, director of the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center. She discusses the importance of oral health in children’s development and resources to support oral health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to early childhood and our youngest learners.

Thank you for reading “Early Learning”!

Valerie C. Williams
Director, Office of Special Education Programs
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Jamila Smith
Director, Innovation and Early Learning Programs
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

 


Project Spotlight

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Racial Equity webpage

The Department-funded Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, has developed a webpage of curated racial equity resources. These curated resources focus on the myriad and far-reaching implications of racial inequities in early childhood special education and early intervention. They can be used to support individual growth and systems change efforts that center racial equity by highlighting policies, practices, and strategies that can bring about equitable outcomes for children and families.

 


Early Learning Updates

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43rd Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2021

43rd Annual Report to Congress

OSERS has released the “43rd Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2021.” The report focuses on children with disabilities being served under IDEA, Part B and Part C, nationally and at the state level. It describes our nation’s progress in: providing education and early intervention services, ensuring that the rights of children with disabilities and their families are protected, assisting states and jurisdictions in providing IDEA services to children with disabilities; and assessing the effectiveness of those efforts. Please take a moment to review the document, particularly the key findings, and use it to inform your work.

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Funds and Resources Available to Support Afghan Children

In January, the Department issued a Dear Colleague letter to chief state school officers detailing information about federal funds and resources available to support Afghan children and their families, who have recently arrived or may be arriving soon to states and school districts across the country. Although the letter is specific to Afghan children and their families, the information is applicable to children and families arriving from other countries as well. In addition, the letter includes a short summary of how funds under IDEA can be used by states, local educational agencies, and schools to support recently arrived students. The Keeping the Promise website, focusing on education and Afghan resettlement, has also been launched.

Return to School Roadmap

Spanish Versions of Return to School Roadmap Documents

The Spanish version of several Return to School Roadmap documents that were released in English in the summer and fall of 2021 is now available:

  • Letter to Special Education and Early Intervention Partners [ EnglishEspañol ]
  • Child Find, Referral, and Eligibility Under Part C of IDEA [ EnglishEspañol ]
  • Provision of Early Intervention Services for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and their Families Under Part C of IDEA [ EnglishEspañol ]
  • Child Find Under Part B of IDEA [ EnglishEspañol ]
  • Development and Implementation of Individualized Education Programs in the Least Restrictive Environment Under the IDEA [ EnglishEspañol ]

 


Leaders in the Department Out and About

logo - Early Childhood Intervention Doctoral Consortium - ECiDC

Neas Speaks with Doctoral Scholars From Early Childhood Intervention Doctoral Consortium

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Katherine Neas spoke with doctoral scholars from the ED-funded Early Childhood Intervention Doctoral Consortium (ECiDC). EciDC prepares doctoral scholars to become leaders in early intervention, early childhood special education and related services for infants and young children with high, intensive, interdisciplinary, and individualized learning needs and their families.

 


Voices From the Field

Katrina Holt

Promoting a Healthy Smile for Young Children

This month's Voices From the Field interview is with Katrina Holt, director of the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center. She discusses the importance of improving the quality of oral health care for young children. We invite you to read the full interview on the OSERS Blog.


This Month’s Recommended Resources

#ECFamResources

Early Childhood Social Media Campaign

ED-funded early childhood technical assistance centers and the parent technical assistance centers have partnered for an early childhood social media campaign focused on disseminating center resources. The social media campaign hopes to increase access to reliable information and family-friendly resources for those who may have concerns about their young child’s development. Look for posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #ECFamResources and share them widely!

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Children’s Dental Health Month

February is National Children's Dental Health Month. Oral health is an important part of a child’s overall health and well-being. Tooth decay is a common childhood disease that is preventable. Children with dental pain can have trouble speaking clearly, eating, and learning. Explore resources from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Head Start to promote a healthy mouth. Additional resources can be found at the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center.

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Infant and Toddler Resource Guide

HHS’s Child Care Technical Assistance Network has developed an Infant/Toddler Resource Guide. The guide includes resources for administrators, training professionals, educators, faculty, and policy professionals to support high-quality care for infants and toddlers.

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Supporting Housing Stability

HHSEarly Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center has a variety of resources to support families experiencing housing instability. Resources include existing programs provided by local organizations as well as those created under the American Rescue Plan.


Featured Webinars

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Dual Language Learners with Disabilities

As part of its inclusion series, HHS’ Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center is hosting a webinar on supporting instruction for children who are dual language learners with disabilities. Strategies for creating culturally and linguistically appropriate settings will be shared. The one-hour webinar is scheduled for Feb. 22 at 3:00 PM EST and will have English and Spanish captioning.

 


Funding Opportunities

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Technical Assistance Center for Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Development

ED recently issued a notice inviting applications for new awards for FY 2022 for a technical assistance center on positive social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes for young children with, and at risk for, developmental delays or disabilities, assistance listing number 84.326B. The purpose of this priority is to establish and operate a technical assistance center that will improve state and local capacity to implement, scale up, and sustain effective practices and policies to equitably support the social, emotional, and behavioral development of young children with, and at risk for, developmental delays or disabilities.

Applications are due March 21, 2022.

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Personnel Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities

ED recently issued a notice inviting applications for new awards for FY 2022 for Personnel Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities. The purpose of the grants are to help address State-identified needs for personnel preparation in special education, early intervention, and related services, and regular education to work with children with disabilities and ensure that those personnel have the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in serving those children.

There are two absolute priorities.

Absolute Priority 1 is Interdisciplinary Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities who have High-Intensity Needs.

Absolute Priority 2 is Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services Personnel Attending Minority Serving Institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions.  

Applications are due April 15, 2022.

logo - Administration for Children & Families (ACF)

Tribal Home Visiting Program

HHS’ Administration for Children and Families is accepting applications for the FY 2022 Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program: Development and Implementation Grants. This funding is intended for tribal entities that do not have prior experience with implementing evidence-based home visiting models, performance measurement systems, and continuous quality improvement activities. The grants are intended to reach communities that are underserved by evidence-based home visiting programs designed for American Indian and Alaska Native populations.

Applications are due April 15, 2022.

 


Connect With Us Online!

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Check out more early learning stories, including "Voices From the Field" posts, on OSERS Blog.